Saturday, February 23, 2019

Snow Comes to SoCal

That Arctic freeze reached all the way down to sunny SoCal. Folks walked out to snowfall on the ground and didn't know what it was, lol.

At LAT, "Snow comes to L.A., with powder in Malibu, Pasadena, West Hollywood":

Xavier Bias walked out of the Whole Foods Market in Pasadena and saw another woman looking to the ground puzzled at the white stuff covering the sidewalk.

The woman wasn’t sure exactly what she was looking at. But Bias, who is originally from the East Coast, quickly set her straight.

It was snow.

“People didn’t know what it was,” Bias said. “I was like, no, this is snow.”

It was that kind of day in some parts of Southern California, where snow dropped at extremely low elevation levels, creating a winter wonderland for a short while. Snow fell in Malibu, Pasadena, West Hollywood, Northridge, San Bernardino, Thousand Oaks and other unexpected places.

Snow level hit the 1,000-foot mark, bringing tiny bits of the white stuff into neighborhoods that had not seen snow in decades. But the show was fleeting, lasting in most cases a few minutes before the sun melted anything that had hit the ground.

By Thursday evening, the storms were moving east, with officials saying the snow elevation level had dropped to 800 feet in Orange County. Snow plows were clearing Ortega Highway between Lake Elsinore and San Juan Capistrano.

An unusually chilly storm system that originated in Alberta, Canada, was lingering over Nevada and had already blanketed Las Vegas with snow early Thursday. Before daybreak, snow was falling in parts of the Southland, dusting Palmdale and the Lucerne Valley. By the early afternoon, it was snowing across Southern California and winter weather had forced the closure of the 5 Freeway through the Grapevine.

“This is probably the coldest storm system I’ve seen in my time in California,” said David Sweet, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Oxnard. “We’ve had cold mornings and freeze conditions, but I don’t remember seeing anything quite this cold.”

Forecasters predict that up to 6 inches of powder could fall in the eastern San Gabriel Mountains. Sweet said snow could fall in the Santa Monica Mountains and even some sections of the Hollywood Hills.

By around noon, the predictions were proving to be true.

“We’re seeing a little bit of everything out there,” said Eric Boldt, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.

After seeing the confusion on social media and as residents began calling in to the weather service, Boldt took it upon himself to clear things up.

“Correct, that is snow! Lots of confusion today,” he posted on the National Weather Service’s Twitter account.

He explained that if the precipitation bounces off the ground, then it contains ice, which would make it hail or sleet. If it floats, it’s snow. In many areas, residents reported seeing small slushy balls, which Boldt said is graupel, snowflakes slightly melted and bunched together...